Publishers Weekly recently asked nine publishing executives to comment on how their company is preparing for the transition of print to digital and the impact this transformation will have on their businesses.
Below is Dominique’s statement on how digital has transformed Sourcebooks, and what we believe about the present and future of publishing. You can read the full article here.
“Looking for the 50% Solution”
December 30, 2011
Dominique Raccah, President and publisher, Sourcebooks
E-books already constitute over half of sales in two parts of Sourcebooks business. As a result, there has been tremendous impact on strategy and models, which will continue to evolve over the next five years. And as the market changes, we have to continue building the infrastructure to accommodate digital, both from an architecture and an innovation point of view.
As devices and software change, integrate, and inevitably segregate again, we have to be ready to deliver great experiences for each device. At Sourcebooks, we’re always looking for increases in functionality—for example, look at what’s happening with children’s picture books, where last year’s e-ink obstacles are being replaced by joyous tablet opportunities. Imagining what might be next is an important part of the job.
Over the next five years, we believe that building vertical platforms will make an enormous difference to our company. For some of our authors, there’s a very real new set of opportunities that we are creating for them—new platforms, new models, new ways to reach readers. It is (I think) going to provide some significant revenue streams down the road.
We also expect to discover and formalize new ways to work with our bricks-and-mortar retail partners. You can already see the outline of that in the work we’ve been doing with Anderson’s Bookshops, the ABA, and our college authors. Expect publishers and retailers to create more of those kinds of opportunities together. It’s certainly one of the things we’re working on. And I think you can expect publishers to have much broader relationships—with retailers, digital partners, affinity communities, authors, agents, multimedia resources, and other content providers among them. You can expect us to be “publishing” far more than just printed books and e-books.
I’m incredibly excited about what the book and storytelling itself will look like in five years, and how broad readership might be by then. That’s probably the thing that excites me the most. We (the publishing industry) are at the center of a remarkable conversation. This is in some ways a glorious time for books—with more readers, more writers, and more outlets than ever before.